Breaded Pork Chops with Thyme
- 1 cup plus 2 teaspoons coarse salt, plus more as needed
- 1 cup sugar
- 10 whole black peppercorns
- 4 (2-inch) pieces orange zest
- 4 (1 1/2-inch-thick) bone-in center cut pork chops
- 1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 1 cup safflower oil
Fill a large saucepan with 6 cups water. Add 1 cup salt, sugar, peppercorns, and orange zest. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until salt and sugar have dissolved; remove from heat and let brine mixture cool completely. Transfer to a large, deep bowl.
Add pork chops to cooled brine mixture and transfer to refrigerator; let marinate for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fit a rimmed baking sheet with a rack and set aside.
Remove pork from brine mixture and pat dry; season with salt and pepper.
In a shallow dish, mix together panko, thyme, remaining 2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper; set aside. Place flour in a second shallow dish and egg in a third shallow dish.
Carefully dredge each pork chop in flour, shaking off any excess. Then dip each pork chop in egg to fully coat. Finally, dredge pork chops in panko mixture to coat, shaking off any excess.
Heat safflower oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add pork chops to skillet and cook, turning once, until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer pork chops to prepared baking sheet and put in oven. Continue cooking until pork is cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes. Serve immediately.